>>8575174 Tehran says missing former U.S. agent left Iran years ago

DUBAI (Reuters) - Tehran said on Thursday that a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran 13 years ago had left the country a long time ago, despite his family saying a day earlier that he had died in Iranian custody.

Robert Levinson went missing on Iran’s Kish Island in the Gulf in March 2007. The case is another irritant in the already hostile relationship between Washington and Tehran.

Levinson’s family said on Wednesday it now believed Levinson died in Iranian custody, based on information from U.S. officials.

“Today with aching hearts, we are sharing devastating news about Robert Levinson, the head of our family,” they said in a statement.

However, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday

that, based on what he called credible evidence, Levinson had left Iran “years ago” for an unspecified destination.

“In the past years Iran has tried to find out his state but could not find any signs of him being alive,” spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to state television.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-levinson-response-idUSKBN21D10T

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